Attorney General Ford Cautions Against Fake Job Scams During COIVD-19 Pandemic

October 7, 2020

Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford is cautioning Nevadans about scams targeting individuals looking for jobs. As many Nevadans pursue new job opportunities during the pandemic, scams related to job seekers are on the rise.  

Job seeker scams can take many forms. In addition to traditional methods such as flyers, posters and advertisements, scams targeting job seekers can originate from multiple platforms, including fake websites, unsolicited emails, social media, messaging services, robocalls, Craigslist and pop-up advertisements. Scammers are looking to steal your identity or money, and may even be involving you in a criminal enterprise.

“While so many Nevadans are faced with layoffs and looking for new opportunities, unscrupulous scammers are finding new ways to capitalize on these uncertain times,” said AG Ford. “I would like every Nevadan to know they can look to my office for help, and should try to educate themselves about these scams to stop fraudsters in their tracks.”  

The Office of the Nevada Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection offers the following tips to avoid being scammed by fake job listings.

Types of Job Scams:

Re-Shipping Scams: With this scam, a fake recruiter pretends to represent a logistics, shipping or transport company. The “job duties” for the position usually includes receiving packages at home for inspection or re-packing and shipment. The scammer may also provide pre-printed labels. Often, the package will be shipped overseas. Unbeknownst to the target of this scam, it typically involves the shipping of stolen or counterfeit goods. Generally, the person who accepts this job scam is not paid for their work, and sometimes pay for the shipping themselves. Eventually, the scam company stops communicating with the consumer, but only after the consumer has lost money and potentially may be at risk for criminal prosecution.

Virtual Assistant Scams: This scam offers consumers the opportunity to do work-at-home data entry or virtual administrative assistant work. While there are legitimate job opportunities for this type of work, a scammer posing as offering this work may ask you to pay fees, buy materials, make payments on their behalf, or give your personal information.

Office Set-Up Scam: With this scam, an employer claims to be from a company based overseas looking to open an office or hire staff in the U.S. Typically, the consumer receives a fake check that is supposed to be used for set-up expenses. The “employer” encourages the consumer to deposit the money and start making purchases for the office and have the supplies, such as laptops and other electronics, shipped to another address. However, the check eventually bounces, leaving the consumer stuck with the bill. A variation on this scam requires that the consumer use his or her own card to make purchases that are never reimbursed.

While the above examples represent recent job-seeking scams, scammers may still run the classic job scams of envelope stuffing, mystery shopping, online survey scams and pyramid schemes.

How to Recognize a Job Scam:

Be cautious if someone offers you a job that you have not applied or conducted an interview for;

Be wary if the job advertisement offers high pay for simple work. This is usually a sign of a scam;

Avoid paying a fee or making a purchase to get work. These fees can include enrollment fees, employment screening fees, training fees, and the cost of purchasing of materials or shipping items;

Be skeptical of requests for personal or financial information, particularly if the potential employer or recruiter asks for your Social Security number, bank account number, or other personal information prior to conducting an interview or making a formal job offer. While employees often must supply some of this information, do your homework to make sure the company is legitimate before providing this information;

Research others’ experiences with the company. Try searching for the company online. When speaking to a recruiter, ask enough questions so that you feel comfortable with the job opportunity; and

Check the company’s web page, and if you receive an email, look at the domain address to see if matches the web page.  Be wary if there are any differences or if you can’t find any reviews of the company’s web page.

If you believe you have been a victim of job scams, you may file a complaint with the Office of the Nevada Attorney General here or with the Federal Trade Commission here. You may also call our office’s hotline toll free at (888) 434-9989.